Emma Coburn, the Colorado Olympian you might know

9NEWS at 4 p.m. 08/15/16.

Usain Bolt's speed has been immortalized his Olympic story. He even has his own emoji.

Then there are Olympians who are virtual unknowns.

Outside Colorado, not many know Emma Coburn. She's wearing a bronze medal tonight.

But Cheryl Preheim learned that Emma didn't spend her lifetime focused on Olympic glory. It started with a family determined not to be couch potatoes.

Running was a fit – but steeple chase was a fluke. It's actually an event that many people aren't even familiar with the century-old event, which got its name from horse racing in Ireland. Riders would ride from one town’s steeple to the next, jumping streams and low stone walls separating estates.

Run nearly 2 miles gliding over 28 barriers and 7 water jumps along the way. Emma never even thought about it until her high school coach suggested she run in an out of state meet since crested butte is such a small town.

It was an 8-hour drive to Albuquerque. Emma said she didn’t want to go that far to run two laps around a track, so she added the steeple chase race to make the trip worthwhile.

It was. She qualified for nationals. Seven years later she is the first American to ever win an Olympic medal in that event, with her bronze.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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